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I Forge Iron

George N. M.

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Laramie, Wyoming
  • Interests
    Blacksmthing, camping, hiking, historical reenactment

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  1. Read the poem, "The Song of the Men's Side" by Rudyard Kipling for a story about how an iron knife saves a tribe and its cost. There is something very basic and fundamental about a knife. As a cutting edge it was one of man's first tools and pre-dates homo sapiens. We probably have some sort of racial/species memory and association with knives. GNM
  2. The question about knives is a relatively recent phenomenon, in my experience. When I started blacksmithing and demoing in the late '70s the horseshoe question was common but not the one regarding making knives. In the US I attribute this to Forged In Fire. Also, more people (like all of them) are familiar with knives while fewer are familiar with other forged objects. When talking to a smith they will try to find a common subject and knives and shoeing horses is the usual common ground. When asked if I shoe horses I say, "Sure, 'shoo, horse, shoo'" while waving my hands in a shooing motion. I then tell folk that the 2 things I know about horses is that one end kicks and the other end bites. Like many smiths, I don't make many knives because I don't greatly enjoy the bench work of grinding, polishing, and making hilts and scabbards. I'd rather be hitting hot metal. That said, I am lusting after a 2"x72" belt grinder. My old 1"x42" just doesn't do it any more. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  3. I have a Canedy-Otto blower that is the oil bath type. I discovered that even when tightly reassembled it leaks. Even though I have dirt floored shop I don't want oily dirt. So, I just set a jar directly under the blower and when it accumulates a reasonable amount I pour it back in. (sort of like the Soldier in White in Catch 22). I haven't kicked it over yet. I haven't wanted to tear the blower down again to put some sort of gasket between the halves of the casing. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  4. I figure that dressing is like being a chameleon, you dress for whatever is appropriate for the place, group, and occasion. If it is a formal, fancy occasion you wear appropriate formal clothes, e.g. church, wedding, funeral, business meeting, court, etc.. If it is more casual, like a blacksmith group meeting, you wear appropriate shop clothes. To do otherwise is disrespecting the people who have dressed for the occasion. If you wear a business suit to a beach party or cut offs and a rude tee shirt to a wedding or funeral you are getting in the face of the other people there and saying something like, "I don't like conforming to the group and I think of you as sheeple for dressing the way you do." It's kind of passive-aggressive. I've known guys who take a perverse pride in not owning a tie or even a sports jacket. That, in its own way, is more conformist than wearing a business suit to the office every day because it locks you in to a certain way of dressing without a way to change even when it is appropriate to dress in a different way. Dressing appropriately may not help you in say, a job interview or at court, but dressing inappropriately can hurt you. I used to tell witnesses to dress for court like they were going to church or a job interview. Then, I realized that many people don't go to church and have no idea what dressing for church means and their job interviews have been in jeans and a tee shirt. For young women, I learned that "dressing nice" can mean looking like they are going out clubbing and that can mean WAY too much skin or cleavage for court. I learned to keep a tie and a jacket (M-L size) at the office and a nice scarf can be used to cover excessive exposed skin. All that said, one of the things I liked the least about being an attorney was having to wear a tie every day to work. I had had too many years where as a geologist my work clothes were jeans and a flannel shirt. Now, about the only place I wear a tie is to church (pre-covid). I have noticed an odd social dynamic that if I am wearing a tie/jacket I get more respect and am more tended to be called "sir" than if I am in grubby work clothes. Several times when I was in a hospital with my late wife I got mistaken for a doctor because I was wearing a tie after work. So, the advice for Uncle George is to dress up or dress down as is appropriate. It helps you fit in and blend in. Unless you specifically want to stand out. Then, let your freak flag fly. GNM "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  5. I'd probably run off anyone who was mean to an animal which wasn't being aggressive. I wouldn't need them as a customer, friend, or acquaintance. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  6. I try to balance not being a jerk and refusing all requests for help, including loaning things and giving money to panhandlers, and being a patsy and being taken advantage of. Sometimes I have been conned or not been treated well but I figure that happens on occasion. I also figure that sooner or later karma will get anyone who treats me worse than I would want. There are only a few folk that I would loan my best tools to. Most of them would be like Thomas' friends and replace it if they broke or damaged it. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  7. I got a similar one from a place claiming to be the El Paso County CO (Colorado Springs, CO) Sheriff's Office and when I asked the name of the Sheriff and they couldn't give it to me. I had been recently employed by the El Paso County Attorney's Office and worked regularly with the Sheriff's Office. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  8. Thomas: I would speculate that the high priced RR spike hammers are going to the collectors of railroadiana. I've got one marked D&RGW (Denver and Rio Grande Western) that probably has decent collector value. I wouldn't recommend modifying any of them that are marked for a particular railroad line. The unmarked ones are better to modify. For replacing the wooden handle with a steel base do you treat like a big rivet and make it a bit longer than the depth of the hole through the hammer head and then forge it down into the handle hole and file or grind off anything proud? I recall seeing these when we were set up near each other at Battlemoor (an SCA/medieval re-enactment event for you mundane folk) about 6 years ago but I don't recall looking closely at the construction details. Thx. GNM
  9. A year so so I was in contact with a scammer who had been advertising a travel trailer on Crxxxxlist. She was supposedly a soldier in the DC area who was being deployed overseas and had to sell her travel trailer. She didn't realize that some of the military things she was saying didn't ring true. When I asked her what unit she was assigned to and who her commanding officer is and that I had a friend in the DC area who could come by and check out the trailer she dropped off the radar PDQ. I did report the scam listing to Crxxxxlist. I really do wish that you could send something bad to the scammers. I guess I'll have to rely on karma. I do enjoy the videos of porch pirates getting caught by glitter bombs. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  10. I usually don't answer calls from numbers I don't recognize and particularly unfamiliar area codes but if one does get through and it is a live person I usually tell them that their mother must be so proud of their career choices. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  11. USAN, yes, it was directed to you. My experience is that you cannot get a perfectly flat blade by forging. You can get fairly close, particularly if you use a flatter but if you want a smooth surface on a blade you will need to file or grind. If nothing else, to remove the scale. Maybe better bladesmiths than I can do better but I have never made a knife that didn't need abrasive treatment in some way. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  12. Actually, I'd say that's a pretty good finish for pre-grinding. The only thing that I'd do differently is to bring the tip of the handle back on itself to form a blunt end. That would be the 1st thing I did to the handle after drawing it out. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  13. Purp, that's kind of an odd blade shape. Is there a functional purpose or is it just the coolness factor? Is the front "end" sharpened? "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  14. Maybe we should start a pool on whether the Coop will show up at Thomas' this week and how long they will take to do the job. I predict that they will show up Friday afternoon, dig the trench across his driveways and then disappear not to be seen again for an indefinite period of time. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  15. Another thing to do, if it is available at an acceptable cost, is to start out burning coke rather than green coal. I started doing that years ago to minimize smoke and smell to be considerate of the neighbors. Even though I am now in a semi-rural area I still use coke. It does take different fire management, e.g., you have to keep at least some air to it or it goes out. You can leave it long enough to go into the house to answer a call of nature or get a cold drink but that is about all. And if you are doing bench work you have to turn around every minute or two and give the blower a couple turns. If you are using an electric blower and you can set it low you are good but a hand crank blower takes attention. It does give a much cleaner fire though. You still get clinkers because the coking process does not drive off the non-volatiles like silica. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
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